It was very hard for me to make the decision to not get a vegetable CSA this year. But with Kyle in school and my working hours getting longer and longer as we dive into wedding season, cooking a large haul of vegetables just isn't realistic. I have instead made a personal commitment to buy local in season veggies and fruit from now until the snow falls at Farmer's Markets preferably, but also at co-ops, and of course from own backyard garden.
I got around to using our Mill City Farmer's market haul on Tuesday night (and Kyle is making a rhubarb tart tonight). I found this recipe on Mario Battali's website for his New York restaurant Babbo (when I get around to visiting Nicki in New York, this is definitely on my list of restaurants to hit) and modified it to incorporate the fiddleheads since I wanted to use them as soon as possible. The recipe is really a spring version of aglio olio which is still one of my favorite comfort foods.
I've eaten but never cooked fiddlehead ferns and found them to be a major pain in the ass. I only used about 1/4 of what we purchased because cleaning them really sucked.
Every reference to fiddleheads I found on the Internet talked about removing the dried brown casing surrounding the plant. Since these had a furry white casing, I was a little weary of the cleaning technique. If we return the farmer's market on Saturday I'll ask the vendor if they have any tricks to remove it.
Damn, they are cute though.
Ramps on the other hand are a pleasure to deal with. Also known as wild leeks they provide the heat of garlic with the depth of flavor you would get from an onion, with a nice fresh twist. I have never met a member of the onion family I haven't liked, so it's no surprise these little guys make make my tongue happy.
Now, onto the recipe:
Spring Aglio Olio
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh ramps
1/2 cup cleaned fiddle head ferns
A good sized pinch of red chili flakes
Blanch your fiddleheads for 4 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Remove fiddleheads with a slotted spoon and use the same water to cook your pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain reserving about 1/4c cooking liquid
Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Separate the ramps into roots and greens. Saute the roots until tender
Add the fiddleheads after about 2 minutes.
Once tender add the ramp greens and saute until wilted.
I love how the ramps filled with steam at this point! They reminded me of sea cucumbers.
Add the drained pasta to the pan and 1/4c cooking liquid. Toss to coat, drizzle with olive oil and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.